Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ay, Ay, Ay

Hola todos!
To say the least, these last few days have been absolutely crazy. Sunday night we had cambios (changes-transfers) and Elder V. and I were pretty darn sure that we weren't going to be transferred but that we would stay. Things definitely didn't go as planned. Elder G. our Zone Leader first told us that Elder V. was going to be Zone Leader in Merida which didn't surprise me too much but what he said next sure did.  I thought for sure that a new companion would come to Valladolid, someone that had more time than me but Elder G. told me that I would be training... (gag reflex) Yeah, needless to say my bowels were going pretty crazy that night and it wasn't just because we ate some uncooked food at a member’s house. (But that really happened too.  My stomach has been having a fun couple of days.)
I thought it was a joke at first, because it is pretty much unheard of for someone to just finish the 12 weeks of training to be trained, but no they weren't joking.  I feel so inadequate and I don't know why the Lord keeps giving me assignments like this when I don't feel ready at all. Presidente told the group of trainers before we met our new companions that when he received the names of who should train, he had to go back and pray two or three times for some of the names.  I am pretty sure I was one of those names.... He shared with us the scripture in Mosiah 2 that says something along the lines of "all that He hath required is that ye keep His commandments and ye shall prosper" and related that to the high goals we have set for us as trainers.  He told us that we have to have [so many] lessons every week, and at least [so many] baptisms cada mes (every month). Elder V. and I were averaging  a [few less lessons] each week, and 1 less baptism a month so I am pretty darn scared.  President told us that if we don't complete those requisites, along with others, he's going to switch us out with other missionaries. I know that if I work my hardest, follow all the rules with exactness, and keep all the commandments the Lord will bless me but I feel like my faith is lacking a little bit because I feel so overwhelmed.  Stress is at an all-time high here.
I don't have much time left but I just wanted to ask all of you if you could fast for me this week? I'm going to be doing a fast for A., that her dad will let her be baptized (it's a rough situation which I'll tell you about next week when I have time) so I'm wondering if you all could fast for me this week that I will know how to handle everything, where to start, but mostly just to complete all the goals that I have to fulfill.  I'll do my part and work my hardest but I would really appreciate that.
I love you all and loved seeing the pictures of you at Thanksgiving!  Such cuties.  One of the attached pictures with us missionaries and V. is our own version of the Turkey Bowl this Thursday. Good stuff.  I'll write more about that next week too.

Loves all around! Con amor,
"Turkey Bowl"

Elder Jaussi and his new companion? 
Elder Jaussi with member

Monday, November 19, 2012

19 November 2012


            This week has been pretty potente (awesome). We had almost zero success with investigators with plenty of dropped appointments, dropped commitments, and overall dropped investigators. However, we have been working a lot with the members and I really love it. Every time that we go with the members we learn a lot more about them and I find something more to love about them.  Along with that, after hearing a lesson from us they tell us that they would love to help us out more by going to lessons with us and thinking about friends who would accept the gospel.
            One of the members told us basically all about her whole life and how she felt really bad for having gone inactive a couple of years back.  She is the grandma of C., the niño that I was able to baptize and she told us that she feels like God can't forgive her because she feels that she caused the inactivation of her kids too and that her daughter didn't marry in the church because of her.  Interestingly enough, that morning I read Mosiah 27 which has to be one of my favorite chapters because I feel like it applies to my life pretty well.  In my studies I had no idea why I came upon that chapter because I began studying about Conversion, but I found out with this member. I shared with her the last two verses and told her that she was "bringing about the salvation of souls" and it started with her grandson.  She told me, "muchas gracias, Elder" and we then gave her a Book of Mormon that she wanted to give to a friend.  All in all, working with the members is the way to go even if al principio (in the beginning) we don't have many investigators. We're starting to feel like we have the support of the whole ward now and that they actually want to help us— not that we're burdens in their ward.
            Along with that, we went to visit a recent convert, R.  Her conversion story is really neat because her husband is really, really Catholic and she was pretty anti-Mormon too. We went to share a scripture with her and her family but let me tell you, I was so scared because her husband is pretty intimidating.  Then the quote by Elder Eyring popped into my head that says something like "The Lord is preparing people to hear you BOLDLY declare your testimony" or something like that... We went in and I shared a scripture but then I challenged the whole family to pray that night to know if this church was true and invited them to church, something I definitely hadn't planned on doing.  The next day at the church I didn't really expect to see them there (oh ye of little faith, eh?) but lo and behold, here came Hermana R. with her daughter.  Apparently her daughter has always wanted to come to church but had been too scared of what her dad would say to her.  After we left, she asked her mom if she thought their dad would let her go and R. said that she (A.) needed to ask.  As you can guess, he said it was fine! This Sunday we talked to her and asked if she would want to receive the discussions and even the bold Baptismo question... she said yes to both!  We're going to be working with her this week, and hopefully soon her dad will come through.  
           Yesterday was the presentacion de los niños  (children’s program) and let me tell you, it was so for cute!! Hermana R.'s grandson R. is such a cute little guy and he was one of the fun ones to watch. You know, the ones. He lives close to our house and he always waves to us when he walks by the park where we go running. You'll have to look up "Tazos" on the internet because I always play tazos with him.  Somos amigos. (We are friends) (That's my go-to phrase with everyone we teach.  If there's ever a tense moment after an invitation or if they don't feel comfortable I just say something like, "Puede hacerlo! Somos amigos ¿no?" (You can do it!  We’re friends, right?) Elder V. gets a kick out of that when I say it)
            Have a great Thanksgiving week and be sure to eat some pumpkin pie for me... ah....... (drool on the keyboard)  I'll be sure to eat some frijoles for you and some rice!! And possibly some soup made by Nacho!  I love it!  It's the beyst!!

 Vaya bien!  Con amor,

Taylor, Tay, Elder Jaussi, Elder Howsee
--Sea feliz, sea Mormon (Be Happy.  Be a Mormon)
 Elder V. and I with N. G., our little amigo, wearing one of my nametags. He is the son of the ward mission leaders. They are probably my favorite family in the ward. They're so great!!

 Me surrounded by angels and by Jesus like it says in DyC 84.  President gave an awesome lesson with the cardboard cutouts. It was superb!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chispas! (O sea, WOW!)

12Nov. 2012

¡Hola mis chicos!

            I can hardly believe all of your folktales with the snow at home. When I read the first e-mail from Dad saying that it had snowed so much, I could almost feel that cold feeling of snow. Almost... Nah, not really but it was fun imagining! I was actually wondering earlier in the week what the weather was like back in the good ol’ John Denver Rocky Mountains because a couple members were asking me if I would be sad not having any snow for a couple years. Some days I miss the cool weather but I really prefer hot weather even if it is humid as the days!!
            This week we had a capacitacion (interview) with the leaders de zona. (zone leaders) Elder P. then went on splits with Elder V. and I after because Elder V. is the Lider de Distrito. (district leader) I definitely learned a lot from Elder P. that I really want to try and implement into how I teach.  He is always full of energy and the investigators don't really have time to get bored during the lesson because he is always saying some sort of compliment, question, or joke.  I don't know how else to explain it but simply put, I've been trying to be more upbeat this week.  Not that I haven't been upbeat, I just think I've been really timid these first few months because I feel like my Spanish isn't very good.  I've decided I'll take the risk of people laughing at me or if I can't understand, because people have been a lot more open to my "corker" personality (As mom would say).  I mostly have just been more open and easy going with the members because I figure they will correct me with the language more willingly than investigators. Then, when I get even more comfortable with the idioma (language) I can be more like Elder P. with our investigators. All in all, being happy and fun-loving is definitely the best way to go in life!!
            Also, in the capacitacion the lideres de zona (the interview, the zone leaders) introduced some very drastic news.  I don't know if this is the same for the whole world but as of now, we are no longer allowed to go tracting as missionaries in Mexico. We can still contact in taxis, streets, things like that but the message was clear: no more door to door tracting!!  The leaders of the church were looking over the numbers of recent converts and over the last three years, only 12,000 of the 120,000 convert baptisms have remained active.  As you can probably guess, we're starting to focus more on reactivation as well as retention of recent converts.  For starters, we had a consejo de Barrio (ward council) with the Bishop and other leaders in the ward to make a list of 40-50 menos activos (less actives) whom we feel have a good chance of returning with a little help. Along with that, we are going to visit EVERY active family in the ward and teach them the message of the Restauracion (restoration) again so they can just get back to the basics of everything, ¿me explico? (understand? Do I explain myself?) I have found that although those visits have absolutely nothing to do with the numbers we report, I really enjoy visiting the members. It seems like the ones who felt neutral towards us or even really didn't like the missionaries have begun to like us and they even want to help us teach/find investigators!! These next few weeks will definitely be slow as far as investigators go but I'm fine with working with members for now. I know that working with them will help us in the long run.
            Along with that news, in the consejo de Barrio (ward council meeting) the ward is planning to have a ward Christmas party this next month.   Every group (young women, young men, priesthood, Relief Society) is doing some sort of talent/song/what-have-you.  Elder Villanueva and I are thinking of doing a cute little song but we're not quite sure yet.  Apparently he is quite the guitar hero so he wants to try and find a guitar and he says I can sing. Miss B would be so proud of me!!! I am actually appreciating the fact that I did Madrigals more and more, believe it or not.
            Let's just say tonight I will sleep well because I bought a new hamaca (hammock) too! I tried it out when we got back from centro and it is definitely an upgrade!  I was getting accustomed to sleeping on my hamaca but it still hurt my back so Elder Villanueva convinced me that it really was my hamaca that was mala (bad). I'll just leave it at this: he was right. The new one is divine "fo sho."
            Tomorrow we're going to Cancun for Zone Conference with President which I'm pretty excited for.  The bus rides are always fun with the other elders in our District and I always like seeing other missionaries in the mission.
            This Friday we're hoping to have a baptism of a lady whose name is A.  About 2 months ago her baby passed away and after that happened she started to search for some answers, and she started looking into coming back to church.  Her mom is a member (inactive) and she told us she remembered going when she was about 4 or 5 so it has definitely been awhile. She told us all this in the first lesson we had with her and her husband and needless to say, we definitely pulled out Moroni 8 and D&C 137 to address her worries about her child. Both she and her husband accepted the invitation to be baptized on our first visit which is always awesome!! The problem is that her husband is a taxista  (taxi driver) and he can't really come to church every week. She has been enough times that she is ready for her baptism but he still hasn't come. We've been trying to help him find a new job/switch shifts/anything but we haven't had much success lately.  We're going to talk to them tomorrow to see if he is going to make an effort to be baptized with his wife or if we should go ahead and baptize her first.  Preach my Gospel says to try to wait and baptize couples together if you can, but we might just have to change that depending on what R. says.
             Thank you so much for all your support and love but mostly the wonderful letters.  I sure am blessed with great family and friends.  Have a great week and I will talk to you next week!!!  Hopefully I receive some snail mail tonight at District meeting!!! De todas formas, les amo muchisimo! Mas que uds. pueden imaginar!  (In any case, I love you all very much—more than you can imagine!)

Con amor,  Tay

Sea feliz, sea Mormon (Be happy.  Be a Mormon)

Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

These are photos that Elder Jaussi sent to us today.  We're not sure of the names of everyone in the photos.  Looks like they are on a rooftop somewhere.
  This might be a transfer day, if the suitcases are any indication.....

We assume that these Elders are some that arrived in Mexico the same time that Taylor did.  Elder Juarez (on the far left) was his MTC companion and he mentioned that he had the chance to see his "first generation" recently in Merida.
A good old "corte de pelo" (haircut)--Mexican style.  Lookin' good, Elder Jaussi!
Elder Jaussi sounds really good this week.  He loved the package that was delivered to him by Bro. Taylor and says that his companion loved the 3 Musketeers.  Apparently, they aren't to be found there in Mexico.  He is hoping to be able to go purchase a bigger hammock this week.  :)  Buena suerte, Elder!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Letter from the President

We received a very nice letter from President Salinas, Taylor's mission president along with this photo taken (we assume) when arrived in Mexico in September.  Pte. Salinas seems like a very nice man and expressed his desire to help his missionaries be successful.  Some of the things that he said were:

Remember when writing, to encourage and express the feelings that the Spirit puts in your heart.  Explain to him the spiritual progress that you are making while he is serving the Lord, and ask him to share with you some of his spiritual experiences.  Be positive and help him focus on the mission.  These 2 years are very important for him as a missionary, future father, and leader of the Church.  He will have great experiences, many challenges and temptations that he will encounter for afflictions.  But just as the Lord comforted Joseph Smith by saying..."all these things shall give thee experience,...he also will learn from his own experiences.

Encourage him to press onward and support him in the difficult times.  The life of a missionary is not easy, and one should not think it is, but by trusting in the tender mercies of the Savior, He will make our burdens light."

Pte. Salinas goes on to tell us that "he will be our son and as our son we will love him and be mindful of all his needs."

It appears that Taylor is in very good hands.